Back in October 1989, the first "Prince of Persia" game swept onto Apple computers. Two decades and more than a dozen video game titles across countless platforms later, the first big-screen adaptation of the series is hitting theaters.
Your hero is Jake Gyllenhaal, with his windswept hair, his prominently displayed abs and his penchant for all manner of crazy stunts. Gyllenhaal plays Dastan, a pauper-turned-heir to an ancient throne, who finds himself in possession of one wicked cool gadget: a dagger that is like a really, really old version of Marty McFly's DeLorean, in that it can thrust its user back in time (albeit not very far).
Thus, your film is called "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," and it arrived Friday (May 28). You don't need your own time-traveling weapon to catch up on everything there is to know about the action/adventure flick. That's because MTV News is here with another cheat sheet, pulling together everything — videos, interviews, photos and more — you'll need to be up to speed before heading to the cinema.
Reconstructing the Ancient World
Producer extraordinaire Jerry Bruckheimer was pushing forward with development of the project in 2007 — with an eye toward a summer 2009 release — when the writers' strike hit. But shooting didn't actually begin until the summer of '08, and eventually the movie was pushed back to its current date on the calendar. Before then, of course, Gyllenhaal came aboard in his starring role (the actor's first action-hero turn) and was shortly joined by Alfred Molina, Ben Kingsley and Gemma Arterton.
In August of '08, we got our first (shirtless) look at Gyllenhaal as Dastan. Nine months would pass before the first official glimpse of "Persia" arrived, as Bruckheimer debuted the film's first footage. A few months later, a poster popped up online. This time, Gyllenhaal had put on a shirt but gained two swords and a whole lot of funky, gold-bedecked armor. More production photos appeared shortly thereafter.
"I can say right now, this will reinvent the video game adaptation," Gyllenhaal told us. "This will finally pull off and does finally pull off what everybody hopes that video game adaptations would."
The Desert Comes to Life
October brought us the movie's first trailer, showing us the production's epic scope, some CGI-assisted time travel and loads of sword-clanging battle scenes. And, of course, there was a whole lot of flirty banter between Gyllenhaal and his onscreen love interest, Arterton. We started to understand why director Mike Newell told MTV News that Gyllenhaal was a "thinking woman's action hero."
Super Bowl Sunday delivered the flick's TV spot (more swords, more CGI sand), and a month later, the second trailer dropped (yet more sand, yet more swords). And then MTV News debuted our own take on "Persia," a Lego-inspired remix of the trailer.
We Are 'Persia'
As the release of "Persia" approached, the cast and crew started doing the publicity rounds. In mid-May at the Los Angeles red-carpet premiere, Gyllenhaal revealed the reasons behind taking the role, his first as an action hero after years populating fare more directed at the art-house set.
"I've seen a lot of my peers starting to not take themselves so seriously and make really fun, big films, and I was itching to try my hand at it," he told us. "I think maybe as I've gotten a little bit older, I feel like I don't want to take myself so seriously anymore. I think before, as much as those movies mean to me, and they continue to mean to me, it's time to have a little fun too."
Arterton, meanwhile, has become a blockbuster vet, what with "Persia" and "Clash of the Titans." "I mean, guys are always playing soldiers and warriors, [but] there's not many roles for women like it," she told us. "I really threw myself into it and did a lot of my own stunts, which I'm really, really proud of. I always sort of saw myself as a bit of a stunt girl anyway. I'm quite reckless."
Might she have a chance to be reckless again in ancient Persia? The film is undoubtedly set up as a franchise. Now the box-office receipts just have to make one financially feasible.
"If there was an opportunity and people did respond to it, then of course," Gyllenhaal said about a sequel. "I love this world. Whenever you finish a movie, you're always like, 'Aw, we could have done this or could've done that.' And given the opportunity to do it even better than we've done it would be awesome."
Check out everything we've got on "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time."
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